Revenge For Masculinity Analysis
“Away, morality!” demands Atreus. In dismissing morality as though it were a servant, Atreus acknowledges that his revenge scheme is unethical (Seneca 249) However, he disregards this and disregards moral justice. His revenge instead emerges as an expression of prideful rage that roots itself in a bruised and diminished masculinity’s attempt to assure itself of its strength. Self-value and rationality become irrelevant in this prideful attempt to reclaim masculinity as Atreus states that he “will have him [Thyestes] slaughtered. / I do not care if this great and glorious house / falls to ruin and kills me, as long as it kills him too” (189-191). In this way, the attempt to reclaim his masculinity against his brother comes even at the price of self-ruin.
Atreus blames Thyestes for making his house “sick.” After all, Thyestes had betrayed Atreus by robbing him, that is, taking command of the throne, and stealing Atreus’ wife. (240) Through emphasis of the word “house,” Atreus describes the position of king to be an extension of a man’s conventional domestic role as the patriarch: the venerable leader of …show more content…
Although Atreus appears to be fearless in his performing bloody revenge, his wickedness is uncertain; after all, he sacrifices moral justice, defined by the chorus and his subjects, in favor of a pursuit of sinful pride that intertwines itself in a notion of masculinity. Through Atreus’ focus upon his failure to perform as patriarch and through the ironic nature of his revenge, he establishes masculinity to be central to how he identifies himself. Because this sense of identity proves to be so fragile, Atreus attempts to reclaim his masculinity with hyper-masculine acts and ironically domestic acts. Instead of reclaiming that masculinity, however, he only succeeds to relate the toxicity of fragile masculinity to justice’s